Ted’s essays

Sunday morning rides … 2023

While my last post was about a long-ago Sunday morning ride, the tradition lives on … for fifty years or more. As far as days of the regular week go, Sunday is a good one for sharing worshiping the blends of man, machine and roads that sport bikes or touring-sport bikes meld into a cosmic beauty that only the bikers can understand. Recollecting a rather famous one from the 1970 Northern California somehow triggered finding an ongoing one in my neck of the woods in the here and now. I joined my first Sunday Morning Breakfast Club (SMBC) ride on July 29th. It was EVERYTHING I HOPED FOR… and more. I rode quite a bit farther downstream to the starting […]

The Sunday Morning Ride

I woke up quite early that Sunday as was normal for me. I considered quietly creeping around my sister’s house until she got up around 11, which was normal for her. The drive from Palo Alto to Santa Rosa would change from mundane to ugly by mid-day were I to delay my departure. Instead I unzipped and opened the driver’s side of my tonneau cover, tossed my bag into The Speedster and headed out before the traffic woke up. As I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge on this glorious summer morning I decided to enjoy Highway 1 instead of plodding along the northbound freeway. With the crack-of-dawn absence of traffic, the windy coastal road would add no time, but tremendous […]

biker chick ready to fly

This month has been most remarkable for the introduction by Missy’s ‘little’ brother of a “new” 1979 Honda XL75 into our household … and a new motorcyclist along with it. While visiting him as he and I took Idaho Star’s ENHANCED STREET SKILLS course, he set his ‘big sister’ on this 174-pound motorbike hiding in the corner of his garage full of Harleys. He and I agreed it was an excellent fit, subsequently hatching a plan to move it to our garage and turn her into a motorcycle jockey. We began her orientation ride July 1st in the Darby High School parking lot with Bruce and I coaching. Since that weekend, I have been coaching solo. She completed her […]

Exploring The Bitterroot: Skalkaho Falls

It is officially Bitterroot motorcycle riding season. Tourist bikes have been exploring up and down The Bitterroot River on Highway 93 for most of a month now. A skosh tardy in getting my bikes where I wanted them for this season, I started a little behind the early bikers, but not too much. Right at the top of my 2023 bike ride bucket list was a reconnoiter of Highway 38 between Grantsdale and Phillipsburg, Montana. It is right in my neighborhood, lightly traveled and reputed to be quite scenic. I was also warned repeatedly by people who have been there, done that, to explore it on my more maneuverable, agile Dr Zee (350 pounds) rather than jumping right in […]

LEO on the road again

I got the Valentine One installed and windshield remounted Monday afternoon (July 10, 2023), then took the Patrol bike on a meaningless meander of the local twisties. I finished that ride by picking up a cooking pot my wife left at a Monday potluck in the other direction. I filled the BMW up with fuel before and after, returning 44 mpg with quite a bit of overtaking, some to triple digits, a couple climbs up both sides of 7,014-foot Lost Trail Pass from the Bitterroot River 3,500 feet below, powering out of too many lovely curves to count, then running the ‘downtown’ errand. The result was a very nice 117 mile 2 1/2 hour break from the nose-to-the-grindstone yard-and-shop-work fuddy […]

My new role as biker chick coach

1979 Honda XL75 and new rider … more than 20 years its senior My brother-in-law has over 35 years riding, and tinkering on them, now with a stable of Harleys. There was this little Honda training bike taking up valuable garage space until his vertically modest sister sat on it during a recent visit we made to his house. He did a thorough mechanical restoration, added rare bits to make it street legal, then delivered it to his sister. He, she and I have been working on rider training for about a week now, starting with a bike strapped down, rear wheel in the air.  As you might understand, kick starting, left foot shifting, left hand clutching, separate front (right […]

two-wheeled psychotherapist

There seems to be a common thread in the motorcycle community that transcends all the different types of bikes and riding styles. Choppers, cruisers, sport, touring, dirt, racing, scooter, townie, trails, vintage … We may disagree significantly on how a bike should fit and function for us, but we agree on this main point. All of us find riding them to be theraputic. Riding a motorcycle is similar in that way to painting, making music, skiing, shooting, meditation, dance and so many other activities that require the full employment of our minds. There simply is no space in the conscious mind for whatever troubles or trivialities of life may sometimes bother us, once we get into the zone. The […]

road rage avoidance

My frisky young friend stopped by yesterday on the way home from picking up his frisky 2-stroke 250 Yamaha. We went for a ride around the block – a 7 mile or so loop that is half gravel/dirt and half paved. He, of course, was ‘on the pipe’ all the way as I plodded along riding Dr Zee at my own pace. The rain started almost immediately, but we went anyway. Near the half-way point, on the dirt, a newish pickup and newish Suburban were mostly blocking the road parked window to window while the drivers chatted. I stopped, then began to inch around the front of the Suburban that was aimed in the direction we were headed. I […]

Dr Zee comes online

The weather has been in and out of season for me until recently, but gardens, shop and yard work grabbed every decent outdoor day that came along. FINALLY I got my Suzuki DRZ400S in a ready-to-hop-on mode and my head-space corrected. Today I ran an errand to the bigger town 18 miles downstream and Dr Zee got the nod as my preferred transporter. Of course the route he chose was not the main highway, but the scenic old road way. It put a smile on my face and in my spirit. I gotta get out more… and think I will now. I must say that I LOVE the lowering we did to the 400S, turning it into a 400SM […]

Harbor Freight trailer build

I was going to build my own utility trailer from an old boat trailer I bought, but came across a more commonsense approach at Harbor Freight. To the left is the completed unit with my added decking lumber. Its maiden voyage was ferrying my Dr. Zee to an Idaho Star motorcycle class in Twin Falls. Here you see my wife’s brother Bruce tying it down HIS WAY for our trip back home. Assembly was not overly challenging, but without a significant tool set, skill set and helping hand friend it would have been difficult or not possible to complete. The result is a new trailer with new lights, wires, bearings, tires, paint and all. Sure, they are all of […]

Death And Motorcycles

I am sharing this from another rider and writer as a note to self as much as anything – Ted –   by an ER Nurse Who Rides How do you mix bikes with a career in the ER? Photo: Mircea Moira/Shutterstock.com Alex Colpitts is a registered nurse who spent years working in the emergency room—and he’s also a motorcyclist. How does he reconcile the risk of riding with his time seeing the aftermath of crashes? Read on: I have been riding motorcycles for 20 years now. Like most riders, I’m frequently asked “Aren’t you afraid of crashing? Dying?”. My answer is always that, yes, of course I am—I’ve seen the consequences first-hand. I have been a registered nurse for […]

Appreciating California Highway 1 in the good old days

I grew up in idyllic Sonoma County that nature graced with beauty and interest in every direction from border to border. Lightly traveled mountain roads, river roads and Highway 1 skirting the rugged coastline were perfect for 20-something sports car and bike aficionados. Running solo more often than not, I gloried in the capabilities of my series of old-school Porsches and a sweet-handling BSA 650. Rarely did the destination have any significance; the journey was everything. I was leading a sports car tour to the Big Sur campground for a weekend of watching premium sports car racing at Laguna Seca. This group of young couples had shoehorned our gear into 50s and 60s topless cars with similar luggage capacity to […]